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Choosing the Correct School Bag

Choosing the correct school bag is vital in the health of your growing child’s spine. Kids all have growth spurts at different times, but they are always growing, and strain from the wrong kind or too heavy school bag can affect their spines, causing problems down the track.

SIZE

We understand that in the long run it might be easier to buy a bigger bag than is necessary for your child so they will eventually grow into it. This is not always the best course of action. A larger bag won’t sit properly on your child’s back and could start to put strain in their lower back causing problems further down the track.

WEIGHT

The weight of a school bag shouldn’t be any more than 10-15% of your child’s body weight. This goes hand in hand with getting the correct sized bag. A bag that is too heavy will put strain on your child’s upper and lower back as well as their shoulders and neck. It could also make them off balance, and try to correct that balance by leaning forward, again putting strain on their lower back.

PACKED CORRECTLY

To make sure that the weight of the school bag isn’t too heavy it’s important to pack the school bag correctly. Having heavy items in the bottom or sides of the bag can make the weight uneven on your child’s shoulders. Try to utilise side pockets for smaller items and water bottles as well. Encourage your kids to repack their bag every day, only taking what is necessary and using lockers or desks where available.

PROPER CARRYING

It is important to make sure that you get a school bag that is double strapped and that your child is wearing it with both straps on their shoulders. This distributes the weight in the bag evenly. The straps should also be pulled tight so the bag isn’t dragging down too low, below the waist. No matter how good the bag is, your child needs to carry it correctly!

MOULDED FRAME/LUMBAR SUPPORT

Look for a school bag that has a moulded frame and even lumbar support straps. These help to keep the bag sitting comfortably and close to the back, with the weight distributed on the hips and waist and not the shoulders. This will help support your child’s back.

STAMP OF AUTHORITY

If you’re still unsure which backpack to buy for your child, look for a bag endorsed by an Australian professional organisation, such as the Australian Physiotherapy Association or the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia.

THE STATS

  • 1 in 3 children suffer from back or neck pain, often attributed to carrying heavy school bags
  • The recommended weight of a school is roughly 10-15% of the child’s body weight
  • Chiropractors recommend all kids get their spine checked once every school holidays. This is a good time from to help support growing spines
cute little child packing school bag while sitting on carpet at home
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